Abolitionist Movement in American and Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Bloss, a Christian evangelist and labor activist who published a newspaper titled "Rights of Man" (Kaye, p. 147).

Were there others whose names are not well-known but who played an important role in the abolitionist movement? According to author Harvey J. Kaye, the co-editor of "Freedom's Journal" was an African-American named Samuel Cornish. Kaye writes (p. 147) that Cornish also launched his own abolitionist newspaper, "The Rights of All." Another free black man, David Walker, from North Carolina, was "apparently moved by the Bible, the egalitarian spirit of the Declaration of Independence, and the revolutionary example of Paine's "Common Sense," started his own pamphlet that called on black slaves to "rise up against their white oppressors" (Kaye, p. 148). The pamphlet launched by Walker was called: "An Appeal, in Four Articles, Together with a Preamble, to the Colored Citizens of the World, but in Particular and Very Expressly to Those of the United States of America" (Kaye, p. 148).

What were the original goals of the antislavery movement? According to Kaye's book the movement initially was designed to "Repatriate' manumitted slaves to Africa" (p. 149). The American Colonization Society (in 1822) advocated that slaves be freed and sent to Liberia, but "such schemes were attacked both by southerners (who opposed any kind of freedom for slaves) and by black and white northerners" (who saw the idea as "unjust and wrong-headed") (Kaye, p. 149).

What was the name of the most influential anti-slavery group in the early 1800s? The American Anti-Slavery Society operated as a religious group, beginning in 1831; the society recruited "zealous young men" with ministerial training to "preach the cause and convert Americans to it," Kaye explained (p. 149). What this did was create "a powerful southern pro-slavery movement" and also it created "hostility and occasionally mob violence in the North," Kaye's book explains. People in the North who opposed the American Anti-Slavery Society "fearfully imagined masses of uneducated black workers flooding their cities"; however, the passion of the preachers and others who carried the cause forward
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led to the growth of the membership to 250,000 by the end of the 1820s (Kaye p. 149).

Conclusion: It is clear from the literature that the abolitionist movement involved many people -- perhaps most of them of African descent -- who were passionately opposed to slavery, and who were willing to put their principles on the line. The heroes in this movement were not just people like Frederick Douglass and David Walker and the well-known leaders like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. The unsung heroes were people like Joseph Goodrich from Milton, Wisconsin, who risked prison to help fugitive slaves move safely north to new lives and jobs. The history of the abolitionist movement should be required reading not only in African-American history classes, but in all history classes in high school and at the university level.

Works Cited

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave.

Charleston, SC: Forgotten Books, 1845.

Kaye, Harvey J. Thomas Paine and the Promise of America. New York: Macmillan, 2006.

Lamme, Ary J. "Commemorative Language in Abolitionist Landscape Texts: New York's 'Burned-Over District'." Southeastern Geographer 48.3 (2008): 356-373.

Milton House Museum. "Joseph Goodrich's Milton House and the Underground Railroad.

Retrieved Nov. 25, 2009, from http://www.miltonhouse.org.

Santoro, Gene. "Steven Hahn Sings the Slaves Triumphant." American History. 44.2 (2009):

18-19.

Williams-Myers, A.J. "The Underground Railroad in the Hudson River Valley: A Succinct

Historical Composite. Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, 27.1 (2003): 55-74.

Steven Hahn, "Steven Hahn Sings the Slaves Triumphant," American History 44.2 (2009): 18-20. Interview by Gene Santoro.

A.J. Williams-Myers, "The Underground Railroad in the Hudson River Valley: a succinct historical composite," Afro-Americans in New York Life and History 27.1 (2003), 55-74.

Milton House Museum. "Joseph Goodrich's Milton House and the Underground Railroad." Retrieved Nov. 25, 2009, from http://www.miltonhouse.org.

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, Charleston, South Carolina: Forgotten Books,…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave.

Charleston, SC: Forgotten Books, 1845.

Kaye, Harvey J. Thomas Paine and the Promise of America. New York: Macmillan, 2006.

Lamme, Ary J. "Commemorative Language in Abolitionist Landscape Texts: New York's 'Burned-Over District'." Southeastern Geographer 48.3 (2008): 356-373.

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